Risks and symptoms

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

We do not know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes. We do know that people do not develop it because of what they eat or how they exercise.   

Common type 1 diabetes symptoms include: 

  • Increased thirst 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Tummy pain
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Feeling generally unwell 
  • Dehydration.  

Type 1 diabetes is extremely serious and can be fatal if not treated. If you notice any of these symptoms in you or a loved one you should see your GP immediately.  

Type 2 diabetes

There are a number of factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including a common one for all of us: ageing. 

You are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you: 

  • have a family history of diabetes 
  • are carrying extra weight, especially around the middle 
  • have an inactive lifestyle 
  • are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Melanesian, Polynesian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern or from the Indian sub-continent 
  • have had gestational diabetes 
  • have had polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by:  

  • losing weight (if you are overweight) 
  • eating healthy foods, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables 
  • eating less unhealthy foods that are high in fat, added sugars and salt like sugar-sweetened beverages, take-away foods and confectionary
  • exercising for 30 minutes each day 
  • reducing your alcohol intake, and 
  • not smoking (if you are a smoker) 

Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include: 

  • Increased thirst 
  • Increased urination, particularly at night  
  • Feeling tired and lethargic 
  • Constant hunger 
  • Slow healing skin sores 
  • Itching skin and skin infections 
  • Blurred vision.   

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not be obvious and some people may not have any symptoms at all. Tiredness, lethargy, thirst and blurred vision can often be put down to normal daily stresses, age, or general wear and tear. Getting diagnosed early helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes related health complications like eye and kidney damage, heart disease or stroke.


Diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test. A sample of blood is taken from a vein and sent to a pathology lab to check your glucose levels. You may be asked to fast before the test. Diagnosis cannot be made using a hand-held blood glucose meter. 

If you think you have the symptoms of diabetes or are at risk of type 2 diabetes, please talk to your GP and arrange a blood test. 

Check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes .

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